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The dynamics of self-defeating patterns within the context of sibling relationships: a qualitative longitudinal research study

Şengül, Begüm Zübeyde
The aim of this study was to shed light onto the dynamics of self-defeating patterns among young adult siblings and only children. To this end, participants were interviewed with a focus on the causes and the effects of their self-defeating patterns and their sibling or peer relationships by considering their similarities and differences in personality characteristics and psychological symptoms. Through qualitative longitudinal research conducted with six sibling pairs, one fraternal twin pair, one identical twin pair, and five only children; changes in sibling/peer relationships and self-defeating patterns within three years and factors attributed to these changes were traced considering their psychological birth orders. After conducting thematic analyses, identified themes and textual essences regarding sibling/peer relationships and self-defeating behaviors of psychologically older siblings, psychologically younger siblings, and psychologically only children were reported separately. Specifically, this study was effective in capturing change in sibling/peer relationships and self-defeating behaviors. Due to the complex and rich data of this qualitative longitudinal study, drawing conclusions from several themes was a big challenge. Accordingly, certain arguments in regard to both siblings/peers and self-defeating behaviors were emphasized. In specific, it was concluded that differentiation from the siblings/peers (i.e., uniqueness) is required during childhood to cope with certain adversities (e.g., rivalry); however, when it comes to the difficulties like self-defeating patterns faced with during adulthood, similarity among siblings/peers (i.e., sameness) might be required to overcome these difficulties. All in all, despite its limitations, this study also provided some important implications and suggestions for both researchers and clinicians.